Kim's Convenience (play)

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Kim's Convenience
Written byIns Choi
Characters
  • Appa
  • Umma
  • Janet
  • Jung
  • Rich
  • Mike
  • Alex
  • Mr. Lee
Date premiered2011
Place premieredToronto Fringe Festival
SettingRegent Park, Toronto

Kim's Convenience is a 2011 play by Ins Choi, about a Korean-owned convenience store in Toronto's Regent Park neighbourhood. It debuted at the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival, where Choi both directed and acted one of the parts (Jung);[1] it won the Best New Play award. The play was remounted in 2012 by Soulpepper Theatre, becoming the most commercially successful production in the company's entire history.[2] That production won two Toronto Theatre Critics awards in 2012, for Best Actor in a Play for Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Best Canadian Play.[3] It was a nominee for the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play in 2012.

The play was performed across Canada, in 2013.[4]

The script was published by House of Anansi Press in 2012,[5] and the play toured Canada from 2013 to 2016[5] and was performed Off-Broadway at the Pershing Square Signature Center as part of a month-long residency of Soulpepper productions in 2017.[6]

In January 2014 CTV News reported that Thunderbird Films was adapting the play for both television and a feature film.[7]

In March 2015, CBC Television announced that a television series based on the play, also titled Kim's Convenience, was in development.[8] Billed as the first Canadian TV show to feature an Asian cast of lead actors, Kim's Convenience was celebrated as an achievement in diversity in TV programming[9]. The first season of the series was filmed from June to August 2016, and produced by Thunderbird Films and Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre Company and was broadcast in 13 half-hour episodes on CBC Television in the fall of 2016, with a second season following in 2017,[10][11] and a third in 2018.

Synopsis[edit]

Mr. Kim (Appa) owns and runs his own business, Kim’s Convenience, in Toronto's Regent Park neighbourhood, with his wife Mrs. Kim (Umma). Mr. Kim hopes the store will provide a future for his daughter, Janet, whom he hopes will take over the store from him when he retires; however, Janet has no interest in running the store and wishes to have a career as a photographer. Regent Park is being gentrified with new condos and developments and the potential of a Wal-Mart opening up and destroying Mr. Kim's business. Realtor Mr. Lee offers to purchase the store and property. The Kims' son, Jung, ran away from home at the age of 16 years previously after Appa had hit him and hospitalized him for a few days. After he was released, everything seemed to be back to normal. Then one day, Appa went to get the money from the safe and it was empty. So was Jung's room. Ever since, Appa hasn't spoken to Jung, though Umma maintains surreptitious contact with him by meeting him at the church. It is not until the prodigal son returns and reconciles with his father that the future of Kim's Convenience is assured.[12]

Critical Review[edit]

The New York Times's Jesse Green’s feelings towards “Mr. Kim’s Convenience” were mixed. He mentioned that an audience were supposed to enjoy and liked it, because it was relatable and the play was “likeable.” Green said that the play was a bit sitcom but it felt real for him. He felt like the play was a little predictable but it was relatable in the end. As he was watching the play he realized that it was also his story too.[13] Brad Wheeler said that the play has received several accolades for being authentic, funny and groundbreaking. He loves that it is the first of its kind featuring a Korean Canadian family. Although trying their best to seem like a modern family, fully inducted to the new Canadian culture, this is not the truth in real sense. As he was watching the play he realized that it was also his story too. Even though the comedy took over most of the play, the play seeks to open a discussion on sensitive topics that are rarely discussed centered on family.

Original cast[edit]

Soulpepper production directed by Weyni Mengesha; Fringe production directed by Ins Choi.

Off-Broadway cast - July 2017[edit]

Directed by Weyni Mengesha

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Shop Talk: Can Kim's Convenience help fix TV's diversity problem?". The Walrus, Walrus Foundation, October 2016, pages 61-65 (3-page feature article)
  2. ^ " Kim's Convenience a treat for all Canadians". Calgary Herald, September 5, 2013.
  3. ^ "Kim's Convenience gets five thumbs-up at Toronto Theatre Critics Awards". News.nationalpost.com. Retrieved 2016-11-20.
  4. ^ "Kim's Convenience drawing TV interest, Ins Choi says". CBC News. 2013-07-07. Retrieved 2019-07-01. Now, the touching tale is packing houses and an emotional punch (Choi said he's seen audience members sobbing) on a national tour that's directed by Weyni Mengesha and next runs at southern Ontario's Port Hope Festival Theatre from July 11 to July 28.
  5. ^ a b "Kim's Convenience drawing TV interest, Ins Choi says". CBC News, July 7, 2013.
  6. ^ Green, Jesse (15 July 2017). "Review: 'Kim's Convenience' Shares Family Ties, for Better and Worse" – via NYTimes.com.
  7. ^ "Hit Toronto play 'Kim's Convenience' being adapted for both film and TV". CTV News. 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2019-07-01. Ins Choi, Jean Yoon, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Grace Lynn Kung star in Soulpepper's 'Kim's Convenience.'
  8. ^ "CBC reveals new TV shows, revives Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays". The Globe and Mail, March 4, 2015.
  9. ^ Shea, C. "Q&A: Ins Choi, the playwright whose new CBC comedy, Kim's Convenience, premieres tonight". Toronto Life. Retrieved 11 Oct 2016.
  10. ^ "Production on Thunderbird's Kim's Convenience begins for CBC". Tv-eh.com. 12 July 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-20.
  11. ^ Nestruck, J. Kelly (3 November 2015). "Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre Company announces 2016 lineup". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  12. ^ "Citadel Theatre : Enrichment Guide" (PDF). Citadeltheatre.com. Retrieved 2016-11-20.
  13. ^ Green, Jesse (2017-07-15). "Review: 'Kim's Convenience' Shares Family Ties, for Better and Worse". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-06-03.

External links[edit]